For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
(1 Samuel 1:27 KJV)
“To be a success, you must surround yourself with successful people.” I’m sure you’ve heard of some version of that saying before. You shouldn’t use other people just to gain a leg-up, but I have to say, this quote definitely has truth. While people don’t necessarily dictate your future, the people in your life shape your habits and how you see the world, which influences your decisions. So, the wrong people can shape your mindset and hinder your growth.
Sometimes, you can only see as far as others around you can.
In 1 Samuel 1, we meet Hannah, one of the two wives of Elkanah. She is affected by others who provoke her because cannot bear any children (v. 2). Hannah is a woman who is blessed and has a loving husband, but she suffers plenty. Her enemies disturb her peace on purpose to make her worry.
“And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat” (v. 4-7).
Though Hannah has such favor with Elkanah, her sorrow is completely understandable. Imagine enduring such hatred by others, shamed for the one thing you can’t have but your heart longs for. Hannah’s deep pain is one that nobody else could comprehend–not even her husband. “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?” (v. 8)
I imagine Hannah seeing other women being blessed with children and wondering what is wrong with her. She probably feels misunderstood, out of place, and forgotten by God. Ever feel that way?
Here’s the thing: Hannah doesn’t stay silent in her pain.